Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Perch and the crazy month of February!


The Perch, 9 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2021

What a weird few weeks I have just lived through!!! Had COVID (mild case, all good), came home to broken water heater (wood floors ruined), endured the Texas Snowpocolypse (78 hours without power and survived!) I happy to be back and thinking about art again! :)

So, let me tell you about this painting from St. Simons Island in November... These Wood Storks showed up at my workshop, and I KNEW I had to go back and paint them!!! I just loved their long, pointed beaks and ancient looking bodies! They are known for building nests in trees hanging over or next to water (like a marsh). They also seem to find large dead branches for perching on and keeping watch over their surroundings. I don't think they miss much!

Upcoming workshops:
St. Simons Island, GA - April 8-10
Austin, TX - May 14-15 (full w/wait list)

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Marsh's Edge - Demo with Process Shots!

Marsh's Edge, 8 x 10, oil on panel, L.Daniel © 2021

One of my students pointed out that I had never posted the demo from my last workshop on St. Simons Island. Of course, I am HAPPY to oblige! MORE than! And by the way, if you are looking for an "in person" plein air workshop this spring, join me back in Georgia in April (the week after Easter!)

Upcoming workshops:
St. Simons Island, GA - April 8-10
Austin, TX - May 14-15 (full w/wait list)

Compose with Lines and Shapes.
Create an "envelope" to contain shapes using ultramarine and burnt sienna.

Block in dark value pattern of large shapes.
Keep marks loose and expressive. Still using only ultramarine and burnt sienna.

Mass in Upright Planes.
Paint "shadow family" first, using best average value (not highlight value).

Mass in Ground Plane and Sky Plane.
Paint around uprights, "cutting" and "carving in" for details and sky holes.

Final Marks.
Break up large masses by adding "light family" in all the planes, and final highlights.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Mossy Veil

Mossy Veil, 12 x 16, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2021

The Low Country is known for its Live Oaks dripping with Spanish Moss. They are huge, and beautiful, and a challenge to paint! In my workshops, we have long conversations about what color that moss is. Why? Because it is ever changing as the light hits from different directions. Sometimes it looks grey or grey-green, and almost blends in with the color and value with the foliage. Other times, like this one, it becomes a yellowy gold because the light is coming through it. Discovery requires observation in real time.

"It just depends" doesn't seem like a good answer, but sometimes that is the ONLY answer!  :)

Upcoming workshops:
St. Simons Island, GA - April 8-10
Austin, TX - May 14-15 (full w/wait list)

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Boatyard Shadows

Boatyard Shadows, 8 x 10, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2021

It's almost always about the light and shadows for me. I absolutely love how light defines objects and the resulting fantastical shadow patterns. With this one, it was the light, the shadows AND that yummy turquoise! As the afternoon progressed, the color of the light kept getting warmer and more orangey (see below... is "orangey" even a word?) It was so much fun to watch... And paint! 

Upcoming workshops:
St. Simons Island, GA - April 8-10
Austin, TX - May 14-15 (full w/wait list)

See what I mean??? Orangey! 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse, 10 x 8, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2021

The St. Simons Island Lighthouse is the subject of books, legends, and many, many paintings! I have personally painted it several times, and felt an itch to give it another go during the holidays! The afternoon light on its circular form was just too pretty to pass up. 

A little history... the Lighthouse was built in 1872 to replace the original one that burned down during the Civil War. It's one of five surviving lighthouse towers on the Georgia coast, and it still protects navigation in the St. Simons Sound. Its beam of light travels as far as 23 miles out to sea! Besides that, it has a beauty and romance that is just so alluring... Never gets old! :)

Upcoming workshops:
St. Simons Island, GA - April 8-10
Austin, TX - May 14-15 (full w/wait list)

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Setting Sail and Happy New Year!

Setting Sail, 8 x 10, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2021

"I miss your blog posts..." emailed a friend and blog follower yesterday. Her heartfelt concern and not so little nudge hit the mark and got me going. (Friends are like that. Thank you, JM.) I never meant to be away for so long, but time really flies, especially during the holidays. And then it is hard to get back on track. Have you noticed that?

I spent much of November and December on St. Simons Island in Georgia... teaching a workshop, plein air painting, and enjoying family. It was wonderful to have some down time and a wide open schedule, especially after one of the craziest years ever! This is a piece from those final days of 2020. I loved that I was able to be outside, observing and painting, and soaking up all the peace that nature has to offer.

We find ourselves "setting sail" once again, with a brand new year ahead. May it be a great one for us all! So much possibility! 

April 8-10 - St. Simons Island, Georgia
May14-15 - Austin, Texas

Workshop fun... 

AND... precious family joy!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Garden Fire - Final week of show!

Garden Fire, 18 x 18, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2020

This is the LAST WEEK of my solo show at the Davis Gallery! Sadly. It has been so fun to have it up, and to have friends and collectors visit the work. All of your wonderful comments have been SO encouraging. Thank you. I love seeing it altogether on the walls... sigh. The search will continue... of course it will!

Davis Gallery, Austin, TX
On display through Thanksgiving!

I love these three pieces together. 
Companions for sure (but can be sold separately.)

In the gallery window on opening night...

Thursday, November 5, 2020

From A Distance - Demo Process Shots!


From a Distance, 8 x 10, Oil, L. Daniel © 2020

Yesterday I had the great privilege of doing a LIVE interview and painting demo with Eric Rhoads, publisher of PleinAir Magazine, and Fine Art Connoisseur. He has been broadcasting with a different artist every day since the pandemic started... what a gift to artists all over the world! I was interview #224! 

For my short LIVE demo, I showed my "Block In" technique - how I get started on a painting. I worked from a completed demo piece I had done for my most recent workshop. The images below show where the painting would've ended up if I finished it, AND aprocess shots of how it would have all come together. 

To My Workshop Students: 
As promised, these process shots are also for YOU... a reminder of the steps we took in class!

Block In Sketch
Loose lines define simple shapes for placement of subject matter. Shapes only, NO detail. (Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna)

Block In Values (darks and lights)
Loosely massed in value indicates the light and family side of the upright planes. Notice that the nearer upright planes have darkest darks, while distant uprights begin to lighten and become less defined.

Upright Planes - Shadow Family and Light Family
Mixed color is consistent with block in values and loosely massed in. Notice that distant uprights are cooler, lighter, and have less contrast. The farthest upright is muted, lighter, and leans toward blue.

Ground Plane
The ground plane is much lighter than the upright planes because it is parallel to the sky and light source - the sun. Notice that the ground plane becomes cooler and slightly darker as it moves into the distance. Conversely, the ground plane becomes more vibrant as it moves closer.

Sky Plane
The sky plane recedes by becoming more muted and lighter on the horizon. Space for clouds is left white, to be painted after all the other values and colors are established.

Clouds - Breaking up the Masses - Highlights
After all the large areas are massed in, I break them up with subtle value shifts and highlights. I have learned (the hard way) to make sure all the value planes are all reading correctly before adding these final details! ;)

My palette of mixed colors used in the painting.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Morning Hush, plus LIVE CONVO and DEMO

Morning Hush, 10 x 20, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2020

I love the tranquility of this scene, and know we are all ready for some quietness after all the recent craziness!!! Praying for peace...

BIG NEWS! Wednesday, November 4th, I will do a LIVE interview and demo with Eric Rhoads, publisher of PleinAir Magazine and Fine Art Connoisseur. Join us at 12 noon eastern time, on Facebook and YouTube... please tune in! 

Click HERE for live link (or catch it later by searching my name on YouTube.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Pink Blush - Show Pics!

Pink Blush, 36 x 36, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2020
SOLD in solo show (Click for larger view)
Evidence of the Search - on display through November 25

I am so happy to report that my show opening was WONDERFUL! And... we found a way to gather that was safe in the time of COVID. Visits were staggered through out the night, with only 10 people in the gallery at a time. The upside? Conversations could actually be had, and the paintings could actually be seen! Silver linings! ;)

The young woman who purchased "Pink Blush" saw it online, fell in love with it, and immediately called to claim it (I think she used the word "swoon" which made my heart sing.) When she came by to see it in real life, she squealed, "it's even more beautiful in person!" Of course, I began to apologize and explain how hard it is to get a good photo image of a painting... especially a large one... "Oh no", she said, "I LOVE that it's better in person! That's what makes it art, it needs to be experienced!" 

VERY TRUE! She is so right. Art is meant to be walked up to, engaged with... EXPERIENCED! I wish you could all come and walk right up to each piece! 

Here are some gallery shots from the opening... 


And yesterday, I took my parents in for a "private" viewing! 
Aren't I the lucky one?? :)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Wild Blue - Eve of my Solo Show!


Wild Blue, 30 x 40, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2020
Available in solo show at the Davis Gallery

Tomorrow is the big day... my solo show opens at the Davis Gallery here in Austin, TX! It has been a long time coming and I am thrilled! :)

Davis Gallery, Austin, TX
October 24 - November 25

Artist Reception October 24, 4-8pm
COVID-safe, socially distanced reception...
30 min increments, 10 people at a time, masks required.

About this piece... As I prepare for a show, I like to hold off on the sharing of new paintings. I like to be able to let one piece lead to another, and present it all together as a body of work. (It just works better that way for so many reasons.) Because of that, I have been waiting to share this piece since early April so it's a little "out" of season. Oh well. I do love a "spring" frame of mind - any time. :) 

As you may or may not know, Texas is BEAUTIFUL at that time of year! Wildflowers pop up on every roadside (almost overnight) and we have an ever-changing parade of color that begins with this electric blue. When the bluebonnets return, there is collective excitement. It marks an awakening to new beginnings and fresh life. In this strange year, we needed that reminder more than ever!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Ruby Sky - Upcoming Show and Process Shots!

Ruby Sky, 24 x 36, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2020
Available in my upcoming show at the Davis Gallery
Evidence of the Search - opening Saturday! 
(Click on the link above for bigger and better image)

Last fall, my husband and I went to Dallas for the Texas State Fair and the big UT/Oklahoma game. As we walked from our hotel to the fair on the edge of town, we came upon the vestiges of an old farmstead. The tall granaries and low slung buildings hinted at another era, right in the middle of the city. Civilization had grown up all around it... so unexpected and oddly pristine. :)

On our way home, the sky put on a spectacular show... I shot a million photos and determined I would try to paint that spot. It took me a few months to get back to it, but when I did, the inspiration was still there!!! Magical moments are like that. 

Here are some process shots to see how the piece came together...

Initial sketch for Placement
Used ultramarine & burnt sienna on yellow toned canvas.

Full Block-in 
Painted the dark values with mix of ultramarine and burnt sienna. 
Stained the sky with alizarin crimson (as under-color placeholder). 

The Sky
 Painted large areas of luscious PINK and YELLOW in the sky, as a base for the cloud pattern. (Dark foreground... established by using tight values and low contrast.)

Grey clouds painted OVER the pink and yellow elements of the sky, and blended a bit on the canvas. Reserved areas of sky color that would best guide the viewer's eye to my focal point... the old granary.

And... for my friend, JM... here is that yummy warm pink made from a little red, a little yellow, and a little white. ;)

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Around the Bend and Upcoming Show!

Around the Bend, 36 x 60, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2020
My largest piece in the show... Sold in Pre-sale! :)

Dear Blog Friends,
When I disappeared at the end of August, the details of my show were calling for my complete attention. I am happy to report that my most recent body of work is now delivered to the gallery for final framing and hanging! WOO HOO! It feels good, let me tell you! I invite you to preview the show HERE.

If you are anywhere nearby, please come see the show...

New Work by Laurel Daniel 
October 24 - November 25
Davis Gallery, Austin, TX
Reception Oct 24, 4-8pm

Reception details in the time of Covid:
To keep everyone healthy, the gallery reception will be broken into 30 minute increments of no more than ten people at a time. Book a time slot to the reception through EventBrite HERE.

Three trips to the gallery later, the paintings were all delivered! :)

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Lake Swan - Fix It Friday #25!

Lake Swan, 8 x 10, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2020

Can you believe I have been at this for 25 straight weeks? I can't! This series has been a great way to stay in touch while I've been working on larger paintings for my upcoming show in the fall. It has also provided a weekly marker to get me through the Ground Hog Days of quarantining! Fridays = Fix it. TGIF! 

BUT, as fun as it has been, I will be taking a little hiatus from the weekly post...

It's time to change it up. Summer is almost over and my show opens October 24th at the Davis Gallery here in Austin. The next two months will be busy with finishing works for the show, getting them framed, and marketing them! (You will soon start hearing from me about that!) I also have visits with my kids and grandkids planned. So... with great appreciation to all who have followed along with me and sent your encouragements... a heart-felt THANK YOU!!!

Here is Lake Swan, on Fix it Friday #25!!!



Problem - The lighting in the scene was inconsistent with the lighting on the swan. (Everything in the scene needed more contrast and brightness to be agreement with the swan about the light.)
Fix - Added streak of blue to sky (it transformed yellow haze into a brilliant day).
Fix - Made water more reflective of the blue sky.
Fix - Popped the light on the loose reeds. Sparkle.
Fix - Added highlights on the distant shore. (That is Westlake Beach in the distance, local friends! You know who you are.) ;)

Problem - The water lacked structure so the surface didn't look flat.
Fix - Defined all reflections.
Fix - Reordered the water patterns to recede, making them larger in front, smaller and condensed in distance.


Throughout a painting session, it's always good to keep remembering where the light is coming from. It's also helpful to make sure the entire painting agrees about where, and how, that light is shining! :) 

I love the swans on Lake Austin. They have babies every year and swim around as a family. Although they never sit still enough or close enough, I constantly try to get pictures. And did you know this? Swans mate for life. LOVE that.